Andrew Simon is fighting a $261 fine slapped on him by Townsville City Council after his cocker spaniel (not pictured) and german shepherd allegedly escaped from his yard. Picture: FILE
Andrew Simon is fighting a $261 fine slapped on him by Townsville City Council after his cocker spaniel (not pictured) and german shepherd allegedly escaped from his yard. Picture: FILE

Man in court battle over ‘loose’ dogs

An engineer is fighting a $261 fine slapped on him by Townsville City Council after his cocker spaniel and german shepherd allegedly escaped from his yard.

Andrew Simon, a Douglas dad, has been accused of having his two dogs out in public without supervision.

He was dobbed in by a member of the public, who turned out to be a council compliance officer.

Nicole Jarmey, who happened to be walking along the river that day with a group of people, told Townsville Magistrate's Court on Thursday that the dogs had run up to her party of four about 5.40pm on December 4, 2018.

She said the dogs were not on leash and were not accompanied by their owner or a person.

There was no suggestion the dogs behaved dangerously but Ms Jarmey said they "circled" her group and one of the younger girls "got a fright".

The court heard Ms Jarmey and a supervisor later searched the council database to find the address and registered owner of the cocker spaniel.

Mr Simon was on Magnetic Island for three days when the escape incident is alleged to have taken place, but representing himself, told the court he could prove the dogs had remained within the yard.

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And CCTV footage from his home does show the dogs in his yard in the lead up.

But being motion-activated, the animals are pictured in the yard for the 16 minutes leading up to the alleged incident but crucially, not during and for some time afterward.

But Mr Simon maintains that's proof enough the animals were behind locked gates.

"You can see that both of the dogs are inside the yard … you will also see a german shepherd which isn't running around vigorously, and that both the gates are closed," Mr Simon said.

He questioned why there weren't statements taken from the three other people allegedly involved, as well as why the infringement notice was issued to him more than a month later.

But he did concede during cross-examination that there was no way he could know where the dogs had been while he was on Magnetic Island.

Mr Simon also told the court that in January 2019, the german shepherd had to be euthanised because of illness.

Mr Simon has pleaded not guilty to one count of failing to ensure animal under effective control in a public place in the Townsville Magistrates Court on Thursday.

Magistrate Steven Mosch will hand down his decision next Wednesday.